back to article Soft-shell robot uses snailfish features to sail though Mariana Trench stress test

Researchers in China have developed flexible submersible robots that experts say might one day help humans reveal the secrets to unexplored depths of the Earth's vast oceans. Using flexible materials such as silicone, embedded and distributed electronic controls, and a bio-mimicking propulsions system, Zhejiang University …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Oooh, floppy circuit boards!

    Bet they're a bugger to hardware debug...

  2. mr.K

    Sharks with lasers?

    How is it supposed to combat sharks with friggin lasers?

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Sharks with lasers?

      It has the crocodile shown in the second part of the video as a bodyguard?

  3. vtcodger Silver badge

    What's the hurry?

    It's not exactly fast though, swimming at roughly 5cm per second.

    If I haven't mislaid one of those pesky decimal points, that's 3m (10 feet in American) per minute -- about the speed of a teenager reluctantly mowing a lawn. Probably good enough for government work as the saying goes.

    1. low_resolution_foxxes

      Re: What's the hurry?

      In survey terms, it translates to 4.3km per day, sdo not too terrible assuming the bigger robot can take them pretty close.

      It's the kind of thing where if it can go 56km over two weeks, you would probably be happy with that.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: What's the hurry?

        Also, they don't always want to move far or fast because they want to stop and look at stuff. Just look at how far the Mars rovers move per day. On the other hand, as mentioned in the article, currents will affect it, something the Mars rovers don't have to worry about. On the gripping hand, if it does get swept away by a current, what the problem? We know almost nothing about what goes on at those depths so one place is going to be just as interesting as any other, just so long as it's possible to keep track of where it is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the hurry?

      "about the speed of a teenager reluctantly mowing a lawn"

      I think this should be added to The Registers units of measurment.

  4. croc

    Artical's thumbnail...

    The thumbnail on the Reg's page looks to me as if it came from Subnautica... I am sure that the Reg gives appropriate credit for its images...

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Re: Artical's thumbnail...

      Well, The Abyss maybe...

  5. Neoc


    The video shows a prototype vaguely flapping its fins and moving in the direction of the undersea current, at roughly the same speed as said current (based on the specks floating by).

    Not so much "swimming" and "floating with style".

  6. Caver_Dave Silver badge

    Genuinely intrigued

    There are very few things that genuinely surprise and intrigue me, but this is one of them. Well done!

  7. Grikath

    The real test...

    "What will try to eat it?"

    Not entirely tongue-in-cheek, since brilliant as the design is, it also makes the thing look like Food... And meals are few and far between in the deep ocean..

    Icon because..

  8. Adeydw

    Scientific Research...

    Cool idea for sure, if it's used to research the deep deeps. Something makes me think that anything clever developed by Chinese researchers on Chinese soil can be appropriated by the military at will. So, next time, maybe instead of a hack of Exchange servers, a swarm of floppy deep sea robots might be chewing up trans-ocean fibre routes?

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